for the 2010 Placitas Artists Series
Placitas New Mexico
One evening this past winter I came in exhausted, ready to crash. As I fell asleep
a vision began to form in my mind—
I am an old woman,
sitting by the shore,
mending nets for those who will take them to sea,
to gather a harvest in some future I can only imagine.
The next morning I began to sketch these images: sand, nets, waves, the cosmic
“beyond.” As I worked I thought more about nets: we make them for gathering,
for ensnaring, for connecting. We speak of “safety nets,” the world wide net, the net
of creation. We sleep in hammocks, use nets in many of our games.
Humans fashion nets from string, cordage first twisted millennia ago—did we get the idea from nature?
From an orb weaver,
who sits in the shadows on her web,
waiting to scramble at the first ping?
From the tangle of marsh grass,
or perhaps from the woven nests of birds?
And there is the Celtic knot which symbolizes eternity.
According to Elizabeth Wayland Barber,* the “string revolution” was a major turning point in our cultural evolution. Once we “invented” string, we could make tools. Nets must have been one of the first.
I imagine nets stretching out across space, across time. There is a net beginning in the ancient past flowing past me into the future. I am but a node where strands intersect…
Wax flows from my tjanting as it traces the fibers on fiber. It dances across the silk, doubling back on itself as the net emerges in space. Colors flood the field, concentrated by grains of salt suggesting novae and super novae, beaches, leaves, and feathers.
Creature, plant and mineral are all connected in this wondrous multidimensional web.